Ernest Shackleton's legendary Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition took place over
100 years ago, but time has not diminished the impact of the gripping account of
the British explorer and the world-famous 1914 voyage of The Endurance. Acclaimed
storyteller and polar historian Lawrence Howard has often told the true tale of
the hardship, suffering, and courage experienced on this landmark Antarctic expedition.
But there's another piece of the Shackleton story, little known and rarely told.
This year, for the first time ever, Lawrence Howard, the Armchair Adventurer,
will tell the .harrowing tale of the Ross Sea Party -- those valiant men on the
other side of the .continent who gave everything they had to lay down the caches
of food and fuel along .the route -- caches that, as it turned out, Shackleton
never used. It's a story that speaks.to something deep within the human psyche.
It's about failure, but it's also about .fortitude, determination, duty and honor.
It's about reaching deep and finding reserves.of strength we didn't know we had.
It's about the indomitable power of the human spirit.
The Essex brings the unbelievable but true events behind the legendary whale encounter to life.
Set sail with the crew as they leave Nantucket harbor and the over-fished local waters for the promise of the South Pacific and its
abundant whales. Experience the terror and disbelief of the crew as their ship faces off with a giant sperm whale and is ultimately
torn to shreds. Witness the stranded men as they make the fateful decision to turn away from nearby Tahiti, where they fear being
cannibalized by the natives, and instead set sail fighting against the wind in hopes of reaching faraway South America. Hear the
tragic events unfold as the men find themselves in an ordeal of thirst, starvation and despair.
The Essex is the fifth installment of Portland Story Theater's highly successful Armchair Adventurer series, which transports audiences into the scenes of history's greatest adventure and survival stories. Begun in 2008 with the highly acclaimed Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare, the series has gone on to explore the Antarctic journeys of Douglas Mawson, Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott, as well as recounting the infamous and mysterious 1885 murder trial of John "Babbacombe" Lee," the man who could not be hanged.
Lawrence Howard reprises his one-man show, "Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare"
The epic, 150-minute production is the amazing and inspiring story of the 1914 voyage of The Endurance.
Lawrence has been on a bit of an epic journey himself this past year and having won his battle with throat cancer
he courageously continues to share his stories with the world. This is an inspirational story told by an inspirational teller.
The story of how Shackleton and the 27 men of the expedition survived on the ice and eventually came to
safety is a harrowing tale of hardship and suffering; of courage, determination and fortitude.
The fourth story in the Armchair Adventurer Series is set about as far away from Antarctica as you can get. The time is November, 1884. The place is the sleepy village of Babbacombe, near Torquay, on the Devonshire coast of England. An elderly spinster is brutally murdered and her body set on fire. Suspicion falls upon her manservant, John Lee. A three-ring circus of a trial ensues. Lee is convicted on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to be hanged, but on the day of the execution the trap doors of the gallows fail to open not once, not twice, but three times. Was it mechanical failure or divine intervention? Was Lee really innocent, as he claimed? And if he didn't do it, who did?
Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare is the amazing and inspiring story of the 1914 voyage of The Endurance. Ernest Shackleton's dream of being the first to traverse the Antarctic continent became a nightmare when his valiant ship, The Endurance, was trapped in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea and crushed. The story of how he and the 27 men of the expedition survived on the ice and eventually came to safety is an epic tale of hardship and suffering; of courage, determination and fortitude.
Polar Opposites is a tale that recounts heroic and tragic events in Antarctica one hundred years ago.
Scott and his four companions fought their way to the Pole only to find
the Norwegian flag flying there: Amundsen had beaten him by five weeks.
Crushed by disappointment, utterly exhausted and short on food and fuel,
Scott and his companions froze and starved to death on the return journey,
just eleven miles from a huge cache of provisions and supplies. This a
tale of the agony and the ecstasy, of accomplishment and failure, of a
glorious victory overshadowed by an even more glorious defeat. Hailed as
"the Homer of Portland," Howard holds audiences "entranced from start to finish"
(Wattenberg, The Oregonian) with his epic
tellings of true historical adventure tales.
On January 22, 2010 Portland Story Theater's Lawrence Howard unveiled the much-anticipated sequel
to last-year's sold-out solo show, Shackleton's Antarctic Nightmare.
This next chapter in the Armchair Adventurer Series is called Mawson's Mettle; Alone On The Wide Shores
Of The World and was part of Portland's Fertile Ground Theater Festival.
A veteran of one of Shackleton's earlier voyages, Mawson led an Australian expedition to the
frozen continent in 1911. Out sledging with two other men, Mawson was thrown into peril when one of the
sledges -- along with the six best dogs, most of the food and equipment, and one of his companions -- was
lost in a deep crevasse. After his second companion and the rest of the dogs died, Mawson struggled against
freezing temperatures, 80 mile-per-hour winds, loneliness, grief, illness and starvation, pulling his one
remaining sled for hundreds of miles. This is an epic story of survival and determination
and courage to rival the Shackleton saga.
In January, 2008 as part of Portland Story Theater's series of solo shows,
Lawrence told the true, epic tale of Ernest Shackleton and the British Imperial
Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914 to sold-out audiences. Their valiant ship,
The Endurance, was trapped in the pack ice and crushed; Shackleton and his 28 men
survived on the ice for over a year and endured incredible hardships. Lawrence reprised this show
in January, 2009, again selling out the entire run. This is a story that is very near and
dear to Lawrence's heart, as he and his father shared a lifelong interest in the Shackleton saga.
Lawrence Howard has come to terms with his being Jewish.
This story, The Adventures of Huckleberry Horowitz, is all about growing up Jewish in NY.
It's about gefilte fish and chopped liver and bagels and lox. It's about fisticuffs on the Hebrew
School bus. It's about embarrassing himself at his own bar mitzvah. It's about the secret Christmas
tree. It's about rejecting and then reclaiming his heritage.
It's about the search for identity and belonging. The Adventures of Huckleberry Horowitz had SRO audiences
and premiered as part of
Portland Story Theater's
Solo Performance Festival, Singlehandedly!
The Adventures of Huckleberry Howard is a trilogy of inter-connected coming of age tales about bullies, and brothers, and breaking away. This program
includes three of Lawrence's most popular stories: In The Belly of The Beast, Night Blues, and Into The West,
with a little harmonica music and a few dirty limericks thrown in for good measure.
Lawrence Howard is a storyteller, a workshop leader, a nice Jewish boy, an honorary Italian, a polar historian and a lover of rhyming poetry. He can't remember a time when he did not love Stephen Vincent Benét's The Devil and Daniel Webster. It's a story about hard luck, hard times, and a struggling farmer who makes a deal with the Devil. But he only has ten years and they fly by like hours. Before he knows it, Mr. Scratch is a'knockin at the door, ready to collect. Benét's 1937 version of the classic Faust story is a curious combination of history, courtroom drama, and old-fashioned American tall tale. It's an everyman story, about the trials and tribulations of just being human. Told with permission of Robert A. Freedman Dramatic Agency, Inc. as part of Portland Story Theater's 2010 Production, Devilishly Good.